CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Many Christians across the country were horrified by reports of transgender Pastor Micah Louwagie preaching an Easter-themed sermon comparing Nashville shooter Audrey Hale to Jesus Christ. This shocking sermon came less than a week after Hale murdered six people at a Christian school. Calling those who disapprove of the transgender movement modern day Pharisees, Louwagie also compared how transgenders are treated in the U.S. to the Holocaust and Japanese internment camps.
Judge Phil Ginn, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu), responded to Louwagie’s controversial sermon, noting despite the heretical message, misguided pastors and churches need prayer and love, not attacks.
Ginn noted, “Fox News recently reported that newly installed transgendered Lutheran church pastor Micah Louwagie in Fargo, ND, preached a sermon in which he compared the Nashville shooter Audrey Hale to Jesus being betrayed and crucified. Quite honestly, my first thought is one of rebuke of a church or individual who would call themselves Christian and simultaneously spout such blasphemous words. At a minimum, the apologetic training in me wants to lash out with a point-by-point refutation of Mr. Louwagie’s logic.
“But if you’re looking for that kind of response, you won’t find it here — not today. I don’t want to berate or even argue with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church or their pastor; I want to love them. I want to love them enough to tell them about Easter — about how Jesus, fully God and fully human, walked this earth among us. I want to tell them about how though He was sinless, He willingly offered His own life on that awful cross to offer to sinners just like me and those at St. Mark’s church a way out of, and forgiveness for, our sinfulness. I want to take them to the empty tomb with the stone rolled away just like that first Easter and let them see that Jesus Christ is victorious even over the greatest enemy of man, death itself. I want to love them enough for them to be able to visualize Jesus breaking back into history some sweet day to gather His people to Himself.
“Perhaps if they could come face to face with the narrative of the Gospel and that first Good Friday and Easter morning, they could be convinced to turn away from their sin which now consumes them. You see, I love them enough to let them know that the wages of sin is death and they are in need of a Savior, just like I was those many years ago and still am. The difference between true Christians and the rest of the world is that true Christians are changed by coming to Christ and will turn away from anything that keeps them from full fellowship with God. Because of this, I want to love these folks enough to warn them about the full consequences of placing any one or any sin above God. There is a fullness of life available that will make their sinful attractions pale in comparison.”
Ginn continued, “I fully realize that the mantra of our culture is that it is bigoted and hurtful to point out sinfulness and the unique offer of salvation from God through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. But the real act of hatred on the part of the Christ followers in America is that we are silent and are reluctant to tell the Good News of a Savior who loves us so. That is the real story of Easter, and it is a story that should be told over and over again so that everyone man, woman and child in America may come to know Jesus Christ for who He really is — the only means of salvation for a world of lost sinners.
“We at Southern Evangelical Seminary know full well the love of God. But we are also aware of His righteousness. That’s why we have been steadfast in the truth of the Gospel for over 30 years. We know that the only standing that any of us have before God is through the blood of Jesus Christ and His victory over death: ‘There is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we may be saved.’ Regardless of how we as humans try to manipulate the message of the Gospel, we just are not capable of changing the real truth of the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus. Though there are cries of ‘there are many ways to salvation,’ the reality is that if there had been any other way, there never would have been even a need for the cross. Yet here we are, over 2,000 years later, and the same age-old question remains for Mr. Louwagie and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of Fargo, ND — what will you do with Jesus? You must choose between your sin and all the other things that stand between you and God and the cross of Jesus. My prayer is that you will choose wisely.”